During one of the interventions, the police officers attacked and beat up BETA’s reporter, even after he showed them his press ID, while several politicians were attacked by the protesters. The clashes started in front of the National Assembly, when the demonstrators began throwing stones and bottles at the gendarmerie.
Just before the escalation, protesters gathered around the Alliance for Serbia joined the crowd in front the Serbian Parliament. The Alliance’s representatives demanded the appointment of a new, de-politicized COVID-19 Infection Disease Crisis Response Team, the calling to account of the police and gendarmerie commanders for “the use of brutal force” against the citizens, for immediate release of those arrested, and for the RTS public service’s objective coverage of the protests.
Movement of Free Citizens leader Sergej Trifunovic, his head covered with blood, accused members of the Leviathan group, considered far-right, for attacking him in front of the Parliament building. Party of Freedom and Justice leader Dragan Djilas denied the rumors that he was also assaulted, adding that the authorities had sent a group of hooligans whose task was to target the leaders of the opposition during the protest.
Dveri movement leader Bosko Obradovic, who suffered mild injuries during a police intervention, said that by sending special police units against the citizens, Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic revealed his “madman’s desire for absolute power” and that the authorities are ready to overrun anyone standing in their way.
According to Serbia’s Interior Minister Nebojsa Stefanovic, there was a “totally crude display of violence” in several Serbian cities on July 8, adding that 10 police officers had been injured.